FleaPlus writes: The German Aerospace Center is planning to launch a novel reusable spacecraft in 2011, incorporating flat damage-resistant tiles. Nitrogen will be pumped through the porous tiles, creating a protective gas layer that actively cools and shields the hottest parts of the spacecraft from the searing heat of reentry. The 12.5M-euro unmanned 'SHEFEX II' project is a major technological step towards the team's eventual goal of a reusable space glider which will be cheaper and easier-to-build than NASA's space shuttle. Link to Original Source
Gosh that takes me back... or is it forward? That's the trouble with
time travel, you never can tell."
-- Doctor Who, "Androids of Tara"